Now, if you ever watched ‘Bo’ Selecta!’ on Channel 4, then you might be thinking of a certain sketch involving pretend-Lorraine Kelly doing a Sharon-Stone-in-Basic-Instinct (that’s as much as I’m going to say for fear of breaching Facebook’s decency standards). Or at least that’s what immediately sprung to my mind when I saw this in a book I’m reading at the moment. As it’s set in the 1930s, I assumed this wasn’t the right meaning and immediately headed to Google.
According to Collins’ English Dictionary, a growlery is ‘a place of refuge or retreat when one is out of sorts or in ill-humour’ (unless you look on the Urban Dictionary where it’s something else entirely – I’ll leave it to you to look that up if you want to). So, literally somewhere to go and growl.
A ‘growlery’ is generally used to describe a man’s study. Dickens used it a lot in ‘Bleak House’:
‘…“Sit down, my dear,’ said Mr. Jarndyce. ‘This, you must know, is the growlery. When I am out of humour, I come and growl here.’”
Sadly, the word itself looks set to disappear, having been removed from the OED in 2011 (heart = broken). I suppose the closest equivalent today would be the horrendous ‘man-cave’. But why on earth would you use that when you can have a gender-neutral growlery?